The holiday season is upon us. Soon, we will be getting together with our family to break bread and exchange gifts. If you’re the lucky one that gets to plan out the large Christmas dinner for your family and friends, then you may want to check out the following tips to help you stay within your budget and save some green this Christmas.
There are several things you need to consider when planning a Christmas dinner menu, while staying within a budget. The following are some of the tips that will be helpful in planning a healthy, but cheap Christmas dinner.
1. Plan & Shop In Advance
Plan the dinner menu in advance, and then buy the necessary items before the holiday season starts. It’s possible that you’ll get the holiday ham or turkey at a cheaper price if you buy it before the holiday season. When you do get it early, store it in the freezer. Not only will it still taste the same, but this will save you a few bucks. Also think about what side dishes you want to have. Buy those in advance also. If you plan ahead, you may also be able to clip coupons for items you’ll be serving at Christmas dinner.
2. Get an Early Head Count
If you know exactly how many people are coming to Christmas dinner, then it will be a lot easier for you to plan out what you need. This will help prevent you from buying too much food, and ultimately spending too much money.
3. Ask Your Guests to Bring a Dish
One of the best options for your budget, is to ask your guests to bring a dish. Not only will this help prevent you from blowing your budget, but it will also help you with preparing the dinner. Whether they bring a side dish, dessert or a bottle of liquor, the less you have to prepare, the easier it will be on you.
4. Avoid Paper Plates & Plastic Utensils
While they may be convenient, using paper plates and plastic utensils at Christmas dinner can be expensive. Not to mention, they are not eco-friendly. Save the money, and just wash the dishes yourself. Or better yet, get that nephew or niece you don’t like to wash the dishes for you. The clean-up may be a pain, but it’s a great way to stay within your budget.
5. Avoid Canned Goods
Eating fresh organic vegetables is always the healthiest options, especially if you grew them yourself. However, this isn’t always a viable option. Instead of buying canned vegetables, try using frozen vegetables instead. Not only are they be the healthier option, but you’ll also prevent your friends and family from being exposed to BPA, a common chemical used in the lining of cans. Frozen veggies also contain a higher amount of nutrients.
6. Don’t Buy Pre-Prepared Meals from Restaurants
Sometimes, it’s just easier to buy a turkey or ham that is pre-prepared by a restaurant or catering company. While this will undoubtedly make it easier for you, it’s also an easy way for you to blow your budget. It’s still best that you set your alarm to wake you up early and get the turkey in the oven early.
7. Skip the Holiday Décor
Most Christmas dinners have some sort of holiday decorations to go along with the food. Whether it’s a centerpiece, decorative napkins or just stuff around the house, try to avoid buying these types of decorative items. You don’t need a santa clause serving spoon, if you’re only going to use it once a year. The same goes for holiday-themed napkins and plates.
What tips do you have for planning a Christmas dinner on a budget? Surely there are ideas that I’ve missed, so please leave them in the comment section below.
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